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It's 9:00 Eastern.  Polls are about to close in South Dakota, and within a few minutes, the networks will be able to proclaim Barack Obama the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States.  

Yes, I'm an Obama supporter, but this is not about gloating or self-congratulation.  The talking heads on TV often use the phrase "historic moment".  They use it to talk about baseball games and golf tournaments and, yes, political events.  But this truly is a momentous occasion, one that, quite honestly, I never believed I'd see.  Our nation is only three generations removed from Brown v. Board of Education, two generations removed from the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  And as of tonight, we have an African American representing one of our two major political parties.  Remarkable. 

To my many friends (among them my closent friends in my home town and my wife) who supported Hillary Clinton, I'm not going to go through all the "Clinton ran a spirited campaign" and "Clinton has broken down gender barriers" stuff.  She did and she has.  I began the campaign as a Clinton supporter.  But Obama changed my mind.  I feared that he couldn't win.  He proved he could.  I feared that he wasn't tough enough.  He proved he was.  I wondered if there was more to him than great speeches.  I believe with all my heart that there is.

I do want to say though, that I feel Senator Clinton was treated terribly by the media throughout the campaign.  She has been on the receiving end of a disgusting and sustained assault from misogynist elements in the press including not only Fox News and the right-wing bloggers, radio hosts, and commentators, but also such "mainstream" media figures as Chris Matthews and the crew at CNN.  They use different language to speak of her campaign -- comparing her to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, dissecting her laugh, her tears, her clothing, her figure, her voice, using gender-loaded terms like "shrill" to describe her.  She didn't lose because of any of this, but she did have to put up with it.  It was shameful and she and her female supporters have every right to be offended.   Further, she was the presumptive nominee, and so the press was looking for a story, trying to figure out who was going to be her main challenger, and when it turned out to be Obama, they gave him a great deal of positive press.  Only when he actually became the frontrunner, did they turn on him, and then they did so with gusto.

I hope, though, that after dealing with their disappointment and taking time to get used to the idea of an Obama candidacy, they will take a close look at the policy positions of Barack Obama and John McCain.  I hope they will think about what a McCain Presidency would mean to the future of the war in Iraq, the composition of the Supreme Court, the state of the economy, the prospects for health care reform, the ballooning of our budget deficit, improvements in public education, and a host of other issues.  The differences between Obama and McCain are far greater than any differences that exist between Obama and Clinton, and when it comes right down to it, these and other issues are what this election ought to be about.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
kerinda
Jun. 4th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
Thank you, for not patronizing her supporters, and also for acknowledging the nastiness.
davidbcoe
Jun. 4th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
It needs to be said. I have a daughter who wants to be President someday. I'm ashamed that my country treated her so poorly, and I would be furious if the same were done to my child.
sartorias
Jun. 4th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
Oh, I think the media did her an enormous amount of harm. (But I am attuned to the slights women get, and I was, and am, a Hillary supporter...however, I will firmly put my X next to Obama's name in November, NOOOOOOOOO contest!)
davidbcoe
Jun. 4th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
You're probably right that it harmed her campaign, Sherwood. How could it not? But I think she lost for different reasons relating to the campaign. I think she took for granted that she would be the nominee and failed to put in place a powerful grassroots organization for Iowa and the other caucus states. The Obama folks out-worked her, and in doing so they stole her momentum. And I think that even then the Clinton camp failed to take his challenge seriously, furthering the damage.

But again, the coverage of her campaign was unforgiveable.
jer_bear711
Jun. 4th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
Well said, David. FWIW, I'm a woman and a feminist, and I was/am dismayed, to put it mildly, with Clinton's campaign.

I still would have voted for her in November, though. This is about the country and the issues, like you said, not about any one person.
davidbcoe
Jun. 4th, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, Jeri.

And thanks as well for my vacation reading! I'm at the beach this week and read about half of WICKED GAME in one night. You've written a terrific book!
jer_bear711
Jun. 4th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
Awesome!! I'm so glad you liked it. I'm envious, of course, that you were at the beach.
sleigh
Jun. 4th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
I also blogged on the issue, so I won't say more than "I agree..."
kmarkhoover
Jun. 4th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
Clinton still hasn't conceded. Says a lot about her.
kerinda
Jun. 4th, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC)
Like what? That she's taking time to organize, figure out what to do with her campaign structure and what to do with her debts?

Jesus. You guys can't give her an inch.
davidbcoe
Jun. 5th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
Have to agree with Kerinda on this one, Mark. Did I feel that her speech last night was somewhat less than gracious? Absolutely. She should have taken a moment out of talking about all the votes she got and all the states she won to acknowledge that Obama had reached the delegate mark and that he had done something truly remarkable and historic. But I think that asking her to turn on a dime and just end her campaign is asking too much. At this point she has said that she will concede on Saturday and throw her support behind Obama then. I think, all things considered, that this is appropriate timing.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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